Home Academics Degrees & Programs Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

Learn counseling theories and clinical skills to help clients improve their mental health.

Immaculata’s 60-credit Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and is also in alignment with the requirements for the State of Pennsylvania’s professional counselor licensure (LPC).

Mission Statement

The mission of the CMHC Faculty is to participate in the University vision of promoting personal human growth and development of students through education, experience, and modeling; to provide opportunities for students to become socialized to the clinical mental health counseling profession as integrated counselors skilled in the areas of assessment, diagnosis, and ethical treatment of clients diverse in culture and needs; to create a collaborative and vibrant academic environment incorporating a diversity of learning experiences.

At A Glance

Program: Master of Arts
Audience: Graduate students
Format: Face-to-face evening classes
Next Start Date: May 20, 2024
Cost: $710/credit
Time to Completion Three years

"Several of my major courses at Immaculata University assisted me in preparing for my current position of being a lead behavioral health counselor at a nonprofit, community-based facility. The program provided me with a sense of discipline, an appreciation for teamwork, an understanding of ethics and strategies to assist in implementing personal self-care. I have found that these skills are an essential piece of the puzzle when working with and supporting clients within the mental health and drug and alcohol world.”

Shawna L. Clay ’19 M.A., LPC, NCC
Lead Behavioral Health Counselor

Opportunities and Outcomes

Career Outlook

Employment for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is expected to increase 22% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many of our graduates are hired by the organizations where they completed their practicums and internships. Our alumni work for employers such as behavioral health systems, geriatric centers, rehabilitation hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, drug and alcohol treatment programs, school districts, private practices, outpatient clinics, crisis centers, and residential treatment centers.

Counselor Certification & Licensure

The National Counselor Examination is offered on campus every year in April and October.

Each state has different processes and requirements for obtaining a counseling license. You will need to pass your state’s licensure exam and complete the required number of post-graduate supervised hours in order to be fully licensed. Learn more about national certification and state licensure for counselors.

Program Highlights
  • High Licensure and Employment Rates—Our alumni have high rates of passing the LPC exam and finding jobs with hospitals, drug and alcohol treatment programs, school districts, private practices and residential treatment centers.
  • Supportive, Expert Faculty—All core faculty members are counselors themselves. Their experience as practitioners informs the counselor education they provide. They specialize in a range of areas related to mental health, including addictions counseling, play therapy, at-risk youth programming, multicultural/social justice issues, trauma, family counseling, and LGBTQ counseling. Faculty are approachable, student-centered, supportive, and available to meet with you to discuss personal and professional goals.
  • Evening, Face-to-face Courses—Small classes, usually with 10 to 22 students, are taught in the evenings on campus, allowing you to work during the day. Our students generally complete the program in three years, taking two or three classes per semester. Most students work part- or full-time.
  • Customize Your Degree—If you choose to pursue a specialty area within the counseling field, Immaculata offers a School Counselor Certification (PK-12) and an Addiction Studies and Therapeutic Practice Graduate Certificate.
  • Clinical Training—Immaculata offers over 100 practicum and internship experiences in a variety of clinical settings to help you apply your counseling skills and gradually enter the profession with supervision.
  • Research Opportunities—You may choose to participate in faculty-mentored research projects and present your work at local, national, and international conferences. Immaculata provides some funding to allow students to attend conferences. Our students have presented at the American Counseling Association National Conference and at Immaculata University’s annual research posters event.
  • Honor Society—Immaculata has a local chapter, Beta Mu, of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for counseling students, professionals, and educators. Acceptance into the chapter will give you opportunities for networking, service, professional development workshops, and mentorship from experienced counselors.

Practicum and Internship Experiences

In your last year in the program, you will participate in a practicum and internship, typically in the same setting. Twice a year, internship students share their experiences and tips for finding the right setting and client age group for your professional interests. You may choose from settings such as psychiatric hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, addiction treatment centers, veterans administration facilities, and correctional facilities.

Your 100-hour practicum experience allows you to practice working with clients under supervision, usually for at least 10 hours per week. Our faculty provides training to your on-site supervisors so that they are well equipped to support you as you begin your work.

Your two internships, totaling 600 hours, provide in-depth counseling experience with on-site, faculty, and peer supervision. You will spend approximately 22-25 hours/week at your internship setting.

Course Overview

Required Curriculum (60 credits)

The courses build upon one another from year to year. Year 1 courses are to be taken prior to beginning Year 2 courses, all Year 1 and 2 coursework must be completed prior to Year 3 and beginning Practicum.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Semester 1
COUN 618 Professional Orientation and Ethical Issues (3)
GEN 503 Interpersonal Relations (3)
GEN 501 Human Development (3)
Semester 1
COUN 604 Group Counseling (3)
COUN 614 Substance Abuse Education (3)
COUN 641 Assessment for Counselors (3)
Semester 1
COUN 691 Practicum in Counseling (3)
Elective (3)
Semester 2
COUN 640 Diversity Counseling (3)
COUN 601 Counseling Skills and Techniques (3)
COUN 600 Research & Program Evaluation (3)
Semester 2
COUN 606 Family Counseling (3)
COUN 630 Crisis Intervention and Trauma (3)
Elective (3)
Semester 2
COUN 692 Internship in Counseling I (3)
Semester 3
COUN 602 Theories of Counseling (3)
COUN 608 Psychopathology (3)
Semester 3
COUN 609 Career Counseling (3)
Elective (3)
Semester 3
COUN 693 Internship in Counseling II (3)
COUN 599 Comprehensive Examination (0)
Student Learning Objectives

Upon program completion, successful students will demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and practices necessary to address a wide variety of circumstances within the clinical mental health counseling community, including:

  1. Understand and apply ethical and legal standards within the context of professional counselor roles, responsibilities, and identity.
  2. Awareness, knowledge, and skills to implement the multicultural and social justice counseling competencies within a counseling context.
  3. Understanding and application of human development across the lifespan and its significance for counseling relationships and strategies.
  4. Understanding of career development and the interrelationships among related life factors including work, well-being, mental health, relationships, and other life roles through the use of theories, assessment, and career resources.
  5. Counselor characteristics, behaviors, interviewing, techniques, and counseling skills that influence the helping relationship.
  6. Understanding of the dynamics, strategies, and conditions associated with group work effectiveness.
  7. Competent use of assessment relevant to diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders and conditions, academic/education, career, personal, and social development.
  8. Understand how to critique research to inform counseling practice and demonstrate competent use of research methods, needs assessment, and program evaluation skills important to the counseling profession.
  9. Comprehensive case conceptualization and use of effective counseling skills within a theoretical framework in the context of clinical mental health counseling.
  10. Assessment, case conceptualization, diagnosis, and treatment planning skills that utilize developmental and multicultural knowledge within the context of clinical mental health counseling.
CACREP Statistics for Clinical Mental Health Counseling Graduates
Year: 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Number Enrolled 159 147 135 128 117 98
Number of Graduates 41 55 24 32 33 37
Completion Rate 92% 89% 97% 100% 100% 69%
LPC Examination Pass Rate 100% 95% 81% 92.3% 87.5% 72%
Job Placement Rate* 64% 80% 91% 84% 92.5% 82%
*Alumni were asked via survey if they were employed in the field, and employment rates for each year were calculated based on the subset of alumni who responded, excluding those who did not respond. Approximately 57% of 2021-2022 program graduates responded to the survey. The employment outcomes of non-responding alumni are not yet known.

IU Annual CACREP Evaluation Report (August 2022)

Faculty
Admissions

Please submit the required application materials. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program holds individual interviews as a part of the admissions process. Once your application is complete, you will be notified of your interview date and time, as well as provided a virtual interview link.

Tuition and Financial Aid

You will pay a per-credit tuition rate, and taking three classes (9 credits) per semester makes you eligible to receive financial aid. Taking two classes (6 credits) per semester qualifies you for part-time financial aid.

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